I’ve been coming to the Outdoor Retailer gear show for over ten years (some 20-plus shows, as they're held twice a year), and the Key log, a nearly 12-foot-long, 60-pound synthetic log designed for rolling, is without a doubt one of the coolest products I’ve seen. The product is the brainchild of Abby Hoeschler, who was born into a family of fun-loving and competitive log-rollers. Her mom, Judy, is a seven-time world champion and Abby, who learned to roll at age four, grew up flying around the competitive logrolling circuit. (Yes, there’s a logrolling circuit.)
The idea for a lightweight, synthetic log was simple: transporting massive, actual wood logs for rolling isn’t easy, so Abby designed one that would be easy to move around. The Key is made out recycled high-density polyethylene, and when filled with water, they are 450 pounds, roughly the same weight as the western red cedar they're modeled after. The log was designed by Mike Cichanowski, the founder of Wenonah Canoes, and a guy who designs synthetic violin bows. It has an internal baffle system and a built-in traction pad, making it barefoot-friendly, although we also saw folks rolling one in the demo pool here at the show wearing gripping running and water shoes.
Log rolling, it should be noted, is not easy, and kids will likely pick it up way faster than adults. (Their website is filled with how-to tips and videos, although it essentially boils down to one bit of advice they highlighted on the site: "never stop moving your feet!”) But that’s the other brilliant thing about the Key Log. It comes with clip-on, paddle-like accessories that you can affix to the log, which act like training wheels. They slow down the speed at which the log rolls and make it easier for only moderately coordinated adults like myself to learn how to roll.